Peshawar


Capital of Pakhtunkhwa

The  Peshawar  Valley  Lies  between  the   Khyber  Pass  and  the  Indus  River  , in  North  West  Frontier  Province  of  Pakistan . Girdled  on  all  except  its  eastern  perimeter  by a  rim  of  rugged  and   barren  open  side  against  the  Indus  River.  At  the  Western  end  of  the  valley  in  the  shadow  of  the  highest visible  peaks and  thirty  miles  from the  border  of  Afghanistan, the   ancient  town  of Peshawar  is situated From Which the  Valley  derives  its  name.  Once the  Western  terminus   of   India’s  Grand  Trunk  Road,  it  is   now  better  known  to  the  world  as  the  eastern  terminus  of the   Afghanistan-Pakistan  trade  route  through  the  Khyber  Pass.

The  large  basin  drains  into  the  Kabul  River,  Which  Rises  in Afghanistan, cuts  through  the  intervening   mountain  range  several   miles  north  of   the   Khyber  Pass , and   flows  straight   eastward  through   the  Centre  of  the  valley, collecting  the  waters  of  a  fan  shaped   system  of  perpetual  and  intermittent  streams   before  it  empties  into  the   Indus  near  Attock. From   the Mountains to the   Indus   is a distance of about fifty miles.

The  center  of  valley  is  a  broad  plain ,generally  level  but  with  occasional  rises  and  rocky protuberances.  Swampy  areas  still  occur  along  the  Kabul River ,but  there  are  no  true  lakes  and   springs  are  rare,   occurring  mainly  in   the  foothills.  Most  of   the   scanty  rain  falls   in  the  Autumn  and  in  Sporadic  bursts  through  the  winter  months.  Autumn ,Winter  and  Spring  are  Relatively  mild  and  humid.  The   summer   is   extremely hot and dry and rain is rare.  The  ground  and  the  air are  scorched  and  some of  the  perpetual  rivers  dry   up to  a  trickle . Temperature sometimes reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods.  Regular   afternoon   windstorms   burst   across the plain in May and June.  The Worst  Onset  of  Heat  is  a  mass  of   hot  air   which  moves  through  the  valley , day and  night  without  ceasing   for  as  long  as  a  week  . As  a result,  the  Valley  has  Pronounced  alternation  of  winter  and  Summer  climate.

While  the  valley  supports  a  wide  range  of  flora  and  fauna,  of  both  temperature  and  tropical  kinds, it  does  not  do so  with  any  abundance.   Orchards, date  groves,  and  green  fields  are  found  growing  where  men water  and  tend  them ,  but  otherwise  there is   little   natural  cover  except  along  the  banks  of  the  streams.

Human   adaptation  to  the   Peshawar  Valley  Follows  the   same   General  patterns  found  in  northern  Indo-Pakistan  Sub –continent. Subsistence  agriculture  forms  the  base, with wheat , barley, millet, corn ,cotton, peppers and  sugarcane  being the  primary  crops.  The  annual  cycle  is  divided  into  two  Planting  and  harvesting  periods, one  for  Wheat  and   barley  in   winter  and  another  for  corn in  summer. Planting and harvesting of sugarcane overlaps both the periods. These  crops are  supplemented  with a  variety  of  vegetables, and  with  clover  which  is  used  in  conjunction  with  millet  as a  fodder .  In  many  villages  there  are  extensive  pear, peach and  apricot  or chards,  and  grape  Vineyards .  Tobacco  is  also  an  important  crop  near  the  town  of  Now Shera.  Wheat, Cotton ,  pepper and  especially  tobacco  and  sugarcane  are   grown   for  the  market  as  well  as  for  local  consumption.

Most  Cultivation  is performed  by  means  of  crude  animal-drawn  ploughs  and  hand  tools  made  of  wood  and  iron.  Some  Modern  tractor-drawn  equipment  is  in  use  on  the  estates  of  the  big  land  owners .  Animal  manure  is  important  as  a  fertilizer,  and  recently  considerable  interest  has  been  shown  In   the  use of  Chemical  fertilizers.

Domestic   animals   are   an   important part of the agriculture. Small  humped  cattle  and  Buffaloes  are  of  primary  importance ,  since  they  pull  ploughs  and  carts ,  turn  small  cane-crushing  mills  and  provide  much-needed  manure  for  fertilizer  and  fuel.  Buffaloes and donkeys serve as beasts of burden. Goats, fat-tailed sheep, and fowl are raised for food. Horses  are  used  only  for   pulling  car rages  and  are   therefore,  associated  primarily  with  transportation  rather  than  agriculture. All animals are bred in the Villages.  The  larger  animals  are   either  stall –fed  or  fed  with  cut  fodder  in  vacant  fields  of  the  village.  Goats  and  Sheep  are grazed  on  stubble  or  in  marginal  area  between  the  cultivated  areas.  Hunting ,  Fishing  and  the  Collecting  of  Wild  honey  are  popular   pastimes ,  but  are  otherwise  not   seriously  pursued  for  a  living.

The   Pronounced winter - summer alternation  in  the  climate  of  this  region   has  a  visible  effect  on  the  agricultural  life  of  the  valley.  The  mild ,  humid  winter  is  a  period  of  maximum  activity,  both  in  the  irrigation  and  cultivation  of  fields ,  and  in  the  supplementary  tasks  of  repair  of  canals  and  Processing  of cane  and  grain .  The  summer  is a  period  of  relative  inactivity ,  Cultivators  doing  a  minimum  of  work  in  the  fields  and  on  the irrigation  system. The most significant problem  in  Valley  is  the  water Supply.

In  the  absence  of  sufficient  rain ,  dry  farming  has  been  supplemented  by  Irrigation.  An  ancient  system  of  channels ,  farming  out  from  the  few  perpetual  streams , has  been  overlaid  during   the  British  by  a public  system  of  concrete  barrages  and  arterial  canals ,  from  which  both  publicly  and privately  constructed  channels  lead  off .  Since  these  government  canals  are  located  in   the  northern  half  of  the  valley ,  sugar – Cane  Cultivation  is  restricted  almost entirely  to  this  area.  The  southern  half of  the  valley  has , until  recently , received  little  attention  and remains  dependent on  the  old  channels  and  on  sporadic  rains ,  as  a  result  of  which  it is  extremely  barren  over  wide  areas  .  After  the  establishment of  Pakistan ,  the  Government  of  North West  Frontier  Province  attempted  to  develop  the  Water  system  in  the  southern  half  by  Construction  of  a barrage  on  the  Kabul  River  at  Warsak.

The extent of water problem can be seen not only in the elaboration of the irrigation system, but also in the supplementary techniques for controlling and utilizing water. The Peshawar valley is a living museum of water-controlling devices. The Persian Wheel, or Arhat, is used extensively in the North-Eastern quarter of the Valley. The Jalar, paddle wheel which is powered by water and simultaneously lifts water in container attached to the blades, is popular where the land is higher than canal. In some of the villages, in the South-Western quarter, one can see local version of the Iranian quant, or underground water channel. Those who can afford it are also experimenting with modern pumping devices.

Human settlement in the valley is oriented primarily to the agricultural patterns of life and to the water supply. Hundred of villages and hamlets are scattered throughout the valley. In the well-irrigated northern half of the Valley, these are dispersed along the vast network of primary and subsidiary channel. In the Southern half of the Valley, which is poorly irrigated, the settlements tend to cluster along the few perpetual rivers and streams.

The typical village is compact, irregular cluster of buildings and walls, with narrow streets and no central square or meeting place. Most buildings are one-storied and made of mud, sun-dried bricks and timber. The village is divided into wards, which are not always physically discrete, but which are never the-less socially distinct. In the most cases the wards are actually separated by alleys or short stretches of open land. The average village includes about eight hundred peoples. A few large villages have between four and six thousand peoples.

The villages are situated close to the cultivation lands which are patchwork of small, irregular plots separated by ridges and interspersed with water channels, cart roads and foot paths. The lands of one village are generally continues with those of several others, and in many cases the boundary is formed by a jointly-used water channels.

The situation in the surrounding hill areas is somewhat different, owing to both geographical and social factor. Settlement is restricted largely to narrow mountain streams can be combined. As a result, the tribal village appears as a series of small walled compounds strung out along the stream.

Interwoven with the agriculture life of the valley is an ancient pattern of industry and trade, in which the village is relatively self-sufficient but still intimately connected with the town, and the town is intern both dependant on the village and on far-flung trade relation with Afghanistan, Central Asia and Sub –Continent. In the villages are found carpenters, blacksmith, weavers, potters, barbers, priest, school teachers, midwives and various other specialists who provide most of the basic goods and services required in a village subsistence economy. One of the most actual felt things is inadequate medical services in the villages. There is some specialization by a particular village, and not all villages have all the necessary skills present, so that exchange of talent and skill between villages help to overcome the short comings. The average village also processes its own product for local consumption. At the same time, it’s the characteristics of most villages that they operate at an extremely low level of skill and complexity, and with the minimum facilities,. In these terms, the transition from village to town is abrupt and striking.

These are four main towns in Peshawar Valley-Peshawar, Mardan, Nowsehra and Charsadda. All except the last actually consist of two distinct part- the “city” which is the old native bazar town, and the “Cantonment” which is recent adjunct consisting of a European style military post with government offices. Each of these serves its separate function. Peshawar is probably the most colorful and romantic of these frontier towns.

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